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IBM Aims to Whittle Big Data Down to Size

IBM Aims to Whittle Big Data Down to Size

IBM is offering some down-to-earth analytics tools for solving real-world business problems in the communications and healthcare industries. "Companies are amassing a lot of data, and they are inundated and overwhelmed with it," said tech analyst Charles King. "But this information has value, and businesses need analytical tools to get the greatest value from their information investments."

By Erika Morphy E-Commerce Times ECT News Network
10/27/11 8:24 AM PT

IBM debuted industry-specific data analytics tools for the healthcare and communication sectors at its Information on Demand conference. These packages are part of IBM's drive to help companies manage their information processes and data storage needs as efficiently as possible.

For the communications analytics appliance, IBM is leveraging the technology it acquired through Netezza. For the healthcare offering, it has developed a toolset that uses artificial intelligence algorithms it developed for its Watson supercomputer.

IBM did not respond by press time to the E-Commerce Times' request to comment.

Real-World Focus

From a broader perspective, these tools represent a shift for IBM, Charles King, principal of Pund-IT, told the E-Commerce Times.

"IBM is talking about these technologies, and about business analytics and big data in general, in a profoundly different way than it has in the past," King said.

Instead of talking about the tech aspect of the technologies or their engineering superiority -- subjects that typified many of the discussions at Oracle OpenWorld, King noted -- IBM is focusing on the products in terms of what problems they can solve for customers.

"The focus at IBM's conference was on real-world business issues and how their data tools can solve those issues," he emphasized.

"It also had a remarkably large number of customers at the conference telling the same story," King added.

The business pain point is a simple one: "Companies are amassing a lot of data, and they are inundated and overwhelmed with it," said King. "But this information has value, and businesses need analytical tools to get the greatest value from their information investments."

Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare

Seton Healthcare Family is the first client to the use IBM Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare, which focuses on extracting relevant clinical information from patient data to better predict future outcomes. The application uses the same type of natural language processing as IBM's Watson, as well as offering search, mining, monitoring and reporting tools.

Seton, for example, plans to use the application to comb through its masses of unstructured data -- physician notes, registration forms, discharge summaries and other documents -- to discover the reasons for hospital readmissions. Its goal is decrease the preventable ones.

IBM Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare runs on IBM Power Systems, which uses IBM POWER7 processor technology.

IBM Netezza Network Analytics Accelerator

For communications services providers, IBM has created the IBM Netezza Network Analytics Accelerator. Modeled on the same premise -- helping companies make sense of structured and unstructured data -- the application is designed to help firms secure new customers, streamline costs and track network health.

The analytics platform can analyze calling plans and contract terms to determine which are driving revenue, and to better understand how customers are using the voice and data packages. It can also identify how customers are using the various handsets.

Creating more-targeted marketing campaigns is also possible. Users who spend hours viewing sports sites on particular handsets, for example, may be more likely to switch to another service provider based on behavioral triggers generated by marketing campaigns.

XO Communications is using the application to analyze its customer data along these lines.

IBM Netezza appliances are based on IBM BladeCenter technology.


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